Inspiration backfired on me this week.
I’m a Mother. Moms always try to inspire. It’s human nature. We want to show our kids the world, see how high they can fly. Give them the best of times…
Because of this, I limit screen time, take them to the library, pay many fines for late and lost books… The library often backfires on me like that.
But this week, Inspiration really backfired.
Here’s the story:
Doug and I have had a two-decades long “discussion” about T.V.s and screen time.
I grew up without T.V., and prefer life like that.
He grew up with T.V., and prefers life like that.
End of story; who cares, right? Well, when we became parents, we both suddenly cared. A lot.
The first decade of parenting, I limited technology (ha! like there even was any technology back then! We had dial-up internet, one tube T.V. and no cell phones. That old VCR sure was a threat to creativity and intelligence, eh? Who am I kidding? - I limited technology because there was none! We read books, went to the orchestra and theater…they learned to paint and to dance. They spoke Italian. We read poetry and ate popcorn together. It was inspiring!
However, the second decade of our parenting, Doug has made the call. Technology for one and all. We packed up Charles Dickens; put away the clay and the dance shoes. Instead, now it’s Blender (a 3-D modeling program) digital music, digital photography. Good grief. This could be the worst of times… So much of work and school are technology dependent, and now we are, too. We munch microwaved popcorn while watching Netflix.
But the battle still wages on between Doug and I. Which kind of life is more inspiring? What habits foster creativity more? Is it watercolors with brushes and paper, or Sketch Up on the computer that will best inspire a kid to do great things?
Just when we both think our own ways are best, something backfires.
Small One tugged on my sleeve, a questioning look on her face.
“Mom, can I talk to you in private?”
Uh-Oh. Here we go. My Mom-Alarm always goes off when I hear these words. Is it something bad? Are you hurt? Or is this a tattling moment? She pulls me into a room and shuts the door, looking a bit urgent. Then she whispers in my ear.
“I think its very important. I want to become a scientist. Is that okay with you?”
I stare ahead, feeling that she is right. This is important. Maybe all those years of inspiration have really done something! Maybe she will be the next Marie Curie! Or she will find a cure for cancer! I could start teaching her Latin this summer…
She continues talking.
“It’s very important. I want to invent things.
Can I have a hammmer? And a vaccuume cleaner?
Then I can become a scientist.”
Whew. Breathe out. Let her finish, Mom… Listen to her, Inspire her!
“You’ll see a real scientist tomorrow, Dear. When you go to the doctor, you can ask her about science. Doctors are a kind of scientist.”
She shakes her head, messy curls falling into her face.
“Uh-uhn.. That’s not what I was thinking about. I want to be the kind of scientist that makes something. Invents something important. I am going to need blueprints. Blueprints and a backstory. Because Dr. Dufenschmirtz has blueprints and a backstory, every time.”
He is a cartoon character.
Apparently, a very inspiring cartoon character. A mad scientist of Disney's Phineas and Ferb fame.
Did I mention he is a villain?
I think I’ll go pull out my dusty copy of A Tale of Two Cities, and have a cry in my tea.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”